News Wrap: Talk grows of Islamic State bomb on downed Metrojet plane

In our news wrap Wednesday, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that U.S. intelligence believes that Islamic State militants planted a bomb on a Russian airliner that broke up and crashed in the Egyptian desert Saturday. Also, a cargo plane crashed in South Sudan, killing 36 people.

Read the Full Transcript

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    There's growing talk tonight that a bomb brought down that Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The Metrojet passenger plane broke up and crashed Saturday on a flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.

    Now the Associated Press and others say U.S. intelligence believes Islamic State militants may have planted the bomb.

    That follows similar reports out of Cairo and London, as we hear from Alex Thomson of Independent Television News.

  • ALEX THOMSON:

    After days of inevitable speculation based upon not much, today, something altogether more substantial appears to be building.

    Early this afternoon, Egyptian media reports indicated the plane had suffered an explosion in one engine. They sourced this to black box flight recorder investigations, which continue, then the statement from Downing Street that, as more information has come to light — quote — "We have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device."

  • PATRICK MCLOUGHLIN, British Transportation Secretary:

    As a precautionary measure, we have decided that flights due to leave Sharm el-Sheikh this evening for the U.K. will be delayed. And that will allow us time to ensure that the right security measures are in place for flights.

  • ALEX THOMSON:

    Extra consular staff has also been sent to Sharm's airport to assist British holiday makers. There are currently around 15,000 tourists in the resort from Britain.

    Downing Street said it recognizes these moves will cause some anxiety, but its travel advice for Sharm remains unchanged. Essentially, The Foreign Office advises Red Sea resorts are fine, but many other areas, Sinai in particular, where the Russian plane came down, should be considered off-limits.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    At least 36 people died in a cargo plane crash in South Sudan today. The Russian-built plane went down shortly after taking off from the capital, Juba, headed for a region of oil fields. Wreckage was strewn across a wide area along the banks of the Nile River. Early indications were that security officials may have allowed too many people on board.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Malaysia, disputes over China's claims in the South China Sea dominated a meeting of U.S. and Asian defense ministers. The gathering ended without a public statement, when China insisted there be no mention of territorial disputes.

    Later, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter played down the tensions, but acknowledged China's neighbors are worried.

    ASHTON CARTER, Secretary of Defense: I had no expectation that everyone would agree on the South China Sea or any other issue. That's the reason for this forum, is to discuss these issues, and that reflects, I, think the level of concern that was reflected in the conversation about activities in the South China Sea.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Secretary Carter also defended U.S. Navy patrols in the contested waters. To underscore the point, he will be on the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt as it transits the South China Sea on Thursday.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was sworn in today. He took office during a ceremony in Ottawa, becoming, at the age of 43, the country's second youngest prime minister ever. Trudeau succeeds Conservative Stephen Harper.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In the U.S. presidential race, the filing period opened for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary in February. Donald Trump was the first major candidate on the Republican side to submit his papers and pay the $1,000 filing fee. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley registered on the Democratic side. He's been a distant also-ran, but he said voters are just starting to focus on the election.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The chair of the Federal Reserve is suggesting again that short-term interest rates could rise before year's end. Speaking at a House committee hearing today, Janet Yellen said the Fed has yet to make a final decision. She told lawmakers it all depends on whether the economy is still performing well, as well as other key factors.

  • JANET YELLEN, Chair, Federal Reserve:

    If the incoming information supports that expectation, then our statement indicates that December would be a live possibility, but, importantly, that we have made no decision about it.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Separately, Yellen warned that the nation's biggest banks still aren't doing enough to guard against serious financial shocks.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The latest look at Europe's economy shows it's growing only modestly. A closely-watched monthly survey, out today, found that economic activity across the Eurozone isn't enough to make a dent in unemployment. That could push the European Central Bank to increase its stimulus efforts.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Volkswagen stock plummeted nearly 10 percent in European trading today after a new revelation. The company acknowledged Tuesday it understated dioxide emissions for some 800,000 cars, most of them in Europe.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 50 points to close below 17870. The Nasdaq fell two points, and the S&P 500 slid seven.

Listen to this Segment